Beer cartons scattered along county roads. (Source: KLTV staff)
Items taken from pasture party. (Source: KLTV staff)
BEN WHEELER, TX (KLTV) -
It is being called the biggest pasture party ever with what police are calling dangerous conditions and an out-of-control crowd of teenagers. Now, East Texas law enforcement officials are trying to prepare for yet another one.
Two weeks ago, Van Zandt County officials told KLTV they responded to a party on a field in Ben Wheeler. They said they were not prepared for the crowd of 3,000-5,000 people they found there.
Now, those teen party promoters may face charges and officials said parents need to monitor their children closely if they want them to survive the next one.
The party all started with a tweet and the hashtag "#PB3," - the name of the party. The location is saved until the day of, to avoid tipping off law enforcement.
Pasture parties are nothing new, but authorities say social media has caused them to got out of control - and it's all documented on Twitter.
"We found many, many liquor bottles. We found many, many beer cans. We found that potpourri that people smoke, K2 type substances. We found condoms on the ground. We found packages of those Cigarillos that they use for blunts, loading them up with marijuana. Just hundreds of these type of items on the ground," Van Zandt County Constable Pat Jordan, said.
Van Zandt County Constables Precinct Four and the sheriff’s department showed up.
"We had no idea what we were going into," Deputy Bob Keltner, said.
Just two officers arrived.
"Even one of the main promoters on admission said he didn't expect it to be that large," Keltner said.
That most recent party happened in Ben Wheeler, somewhere behind many trees in a mowed down pasture. You can still see the tire markets lining the small county roads. The cars were packed so tightly, not even emergency vehicles could get by.
“You know you're going to end up with an ambulance out there on a party that size and we needed to make room for the ambulance to get there," Keltner explained.
They began towing cars as more and more teens walked miles from their parking spots to get in. Gunfire was reported, assaults, and fights causing obvious injuries in photos posted online.
Officials said a poster circulating before the party was misleading.
"There's people arriving like this is a legitimate concert, this is a legitimate event, that they're attending and they expected to see law enforcement there," Keltner described.
Arriving from all across Texas and even surrounding states, officials said one teen and her friend expected a controlled concert.
"As soon as they get there a beer bottle hits one of the young ladies in the head. She has to go to the hospital and get stitches. They had no idea what they were coming into," Jordan said.
Promoters even charged a five dollar admission fee, raking in an easy $25,000 that night.
"When you start charging a fee, then there's rules and laws that you have to abide by," Jordan explained.
The promoters had no permit, no bathrooms, and no hired security.
It got so bad, Keltner said, "it's my understanding that the crowd became so riotous that the band refused to go on."
Officials said teens as young as thirteen wandered in.
"These parents probably didn't know where their children were that night. They probably thought they were at a friend's house or going out to eat or going to a movie and, in fact, probably many of them local kids were at this location," Jordan said.
Plans are already underway on twitter for a "PB4" and law enforcement is preparing by watching those posts, but they said parents must do the same.
"They need to understand that their children are going in to some places that are bad and if they want to see their child, you know, survive, they need to start taking more active role in knowing where their children are," Jordan said.
The event is now being investigated by the Texas Comptroller and Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission. Party promoters could face serious penalties for tax laws and for failing to provide proper permits and facilities.
Officials said next time they will be at the ready.
We reached out to the landowner where that party took place who officials said helped coordinate it, and he said he didn’t know anything and had no comment. We also reached out to one of the main promoters listed on that poster via Twitter and have not heard back.